REVIEW: Mavericks

Mavericks presents hilarious, laugh-out-loud comedy from Luisa Callander and Ruby Keane.

Cambridge Comedy Joanna Taylor Mavericks Pembroke New Cellars sketch comedy Sketches University of Cambridge

Having seen them at a Corpus Smoker previously, at which they massively stole the show, I jumped at the chance to see this unique comedy duo perform their own sketch show.

Their style of humour – surrealist, occasionally dark, yet somehow always light-hearted and innovative – is hugely appealing and had the audience in stitches. Their sketches range from a chicken factory to Santa’s grotto, and almost always refuse to be obvious or predictable.

The girls’ talent is best displayed when they blend acting with comedy, assuming various voices, personas and accents which bring each sketch to life. Witches, aliens, Year 11 boys doing their GCSEs: Luisa Callander and Ruby Keane have a hugely impressive range and do not rely on props or staging for their performance. It is extremely refreshing to see such absurd (at times) humour, rather than the observational stand-up comedy which can often dominate the genre.

(Photo Credit: Emma Kavanagh)

Ruby Keane and Luisa Callander. (Photo Credit: Emma Kavanagh)

The show got off to a bit of a slow start: the interludes in which Luisa and Ruby were ‘themselves’ didn’t quite live up to the energy and hilarity of their sketches, although interaction with the audience worked well. Longer sketches opened the show and were dovetailed together either by their introductions or changes in lighting. The staging of the show was very good given the limited space of Pembroke New Cellars.

Shorter sketches came afterwards, which displayed bursts of comic genius, followed by a comically anti-climactic ending. I must admit that there were moments in which I was the only person laughing: the audience were extremely appreciative, but if you’re not a fan of surrealism or occasional veers into nihilism, this show may not be for you.

There was also a little slapstick – not too much (which might have detracted from the show), but enough to make it very light-hearted. Some female comedians might get trapped in trying to prove that their humour can be as funny and sophisticated as any man’s, but Ruby and Luisa achieved this effortlessly, and didn’t shy away from the odd bit of toilet humour to fill the gaps.

(Photo Credit: Emma Kavanagh)

‘Surrealist, occasionally dark, and always innovative.’ (Photo Credit: Emma Kavanagh)

The girls were self-referential about their different styles and distinct personalities, as well as the friendship between them. Both styles work well, although Ruby is a little more natural on stage: Luisa sometimes looked self-conscious, which she didn’t need to be as her accents were brilliant, particularly when she was Mary Tudor or the ruler of another planet. There was lots of breaking of the fourth wall, and reflection on the progression of the sketches, perhaps showing the influence of director Ken Cheng, whose own stand-up show earlier this term contained elements of both.

Mavericks may need a little polish, but moments of comic genius shine through and will have you convulsed with laughter. Don’t miss out on some truly brilliant comedy you won’t see anywhere else.

3.5/5 stars